Planning Decision for Gipsy Lane going to appeal and being taken out of the hands of Kettering Council

By Mick Scrimshaw on June 30, 2017

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Kettering Borough Council were given the news this week that the final decision on the proposed new housing development on fields adjacent to Gipsy Lane has been taken out of their hands. It will now be decided by the planning inspector. This is following the applicant appealing against a decision the planning committee made back in April. That was to defer the decision to give the Highways Authority and the developer chance to sort out differences of opinion on traffic measures and to address concerns from residents.

There were differences on whether there should be a roundabout or traffic lights at the junction opposite the Crematorium. Residents also had concerns about the number of new junctions leading onto Gipsy Lane itself and the removal of some of the mature tress long the lane which give character to the area. I addressed the planning committee expressing my concerns and insisting that local residents need to be able to feed in their views into the appeal process.

More details can be found below in a letter I have sent to residents in the immediate area, and a copy is below.

Dear Resident,

Update on proposed planning application for a new housing development on Gipsy Lane

This week Kettering Council’s Planning Committee were given the news that after their April meeting when they agreed to defer a final decision about the proposal to build 350 new houses on the farmland adjacent to Gipsy Lane, the applicant has since appealed against that decision and asked the planning inspector that the original proposal go ahead.

Residents had complained about the proposed new junctions coming onto Gipsy Labe, about the removal of some of the mature trees lining the lane, and in particular about the plan to install traffic lights at the junction outside the crematorium rather than a roundabout.

All of these points were accepted by the local councillors on the committee and they agreed that that the developers should be asked to think again, and that the highways department of the County Council work with them to find a solution.

On Tuesday the planning committee were informed that the applicant had formally appealed against that decision and the planning inspector agree to the original plans despite all the points made during the original meeting. It was also announced that they had requested that the appeal process should take the form of a written representations to the inspector rather than a public hearing.

This means that the final decision on what happens has now been taken out o9f local hands, and Kettering Borough Council will no longer have any say in the final decision. I asked the chair of the planning committee if I could address the committee and raised my concerns about this, reminding the committee of the controversial nature of the application and the amount of local objections they had received. I therefore asked that the council should apply to the inspector to hold a public hearing rather than rely on written submissions and that the public, and in particular, the people that had put in previous objections, be informed of what was happening and told how they could put in their comments to the inspector.

Without confirming the council would approach the planning inspector directly, the council’s planning officer gave his view that he believed it would be extremely unlikely the inspector would not hold a public enquiry given the nature and size of the application, and confirmed that the public would be kept informed and given the opportunity to putt in their comments. I was slightly reassured by this, although didn’t receive the absolute assurance that all of the ninety odd previous objectors would be individually written to, although I believe this would still be the best way forward and have since advised the head of planning that I think the council should do this.

I am disappointed with the applicant and with the diocese of Peterborough (the land owners) for trying to ignore the views of local residents, and disappointed that this final decision has now been taken out of the hands of local decision makers, but I will continue to work with residents to try to ensure their views are taken into consideration.

Cllr. Mick Scrimshaw
Northamptonshire County Council

Address: 34 St. Peter’s Avenue, Kettering, NN16 0HA
Telephone: FREEPHONE 0800 97 888 97
Text/Mobile: 07977 430377
Facebook: Cllr. Mick Scrimshaw
Twitter: @mickscrimshaw

Mick Scrimshaw is the Leader of the Labour Group at Kettering Borough Council, the Shadow Cabinet Member for Finance at Northamptonshire County Council. He has a public record of standing up for Kettering as a County Councillor for the Northall division in Kettering, Northants and since May 2015, a Borough Councillor for the William Knibb ward. He is a keen cyclist and also runs a family business with his wife.

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